More than 130 centenarian voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the February 8 election and they will be treated “as a VIP” on the polling day, officials said on Thursday. Earlier, the Delhi Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) office had identified 150 centenarian voters but the number was revised after physical verification.
“A total of 150 voters, aged 100 and above, were initially identified by our officials. Later, physical verification was done but many of the centenarian voters were found to be dead, and some of them had shifted out of Delhi, so the final figure was revised,” a senior official of the Delhi CEO office told PTI.
After physical verification, the number of centenarian voters was revised to 132 — 68 men and 64 women.
The highest number of centenarians, 21, were found in West Delhi district and the lowest, 7, in New Delhi district, the official said. Kalitara Mandal, 110, a resident of C R Park in South Delhi’s Greater Kailash constituency, is the oldest voter in Delhi.
Bachchan Singh, 111, the oldest voter in the 2019 elections in the city who used to reside in Tilak Nagar, died last December.
Delhi CEO Ranbir Singh on Wednesday said members of Bharat Scouts and Guides assisted the poll officials in physical verification process and “documenting their stories”.
During physical verification, officials check if such voters are alive or still living in Delhi.
“Of the 18 centenarians who were not found at home, most of them had died and some of them had shifted base from Delhi,” the senior official said.
Singh said these voters will be extended of all the facilities they had enjoyed in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“A senior officer will go to the houses of each of these centenarian voters, residing nearest to the polling station in a constituency, and escort them to the booths. They will also motivate them to vote, unless they are bedridden and their health doesn’t permit,” the CEO said.
“But if such voters are still eager to vote despite their frailty, we will make all possible arrangements to ensure they exercise their franchise. They will also be given priority in voting, so they don’t have to stand in line,” he said.
At polling stations, they will be greeted with bouquets and election staff would take selfies with them, he said.
“Our staffers are going to each of these centenarians to physically check them, and on polling day, they will get pick-and-drop facility to the polling station,” he said.
Elections in Delhi are due on February 8 and the Delhi CEO office is making all arrangements to facilitate elderly citizens and voters with disability.
“Special arrangements would be made for Delhi voters who are aged 100 and above. They will be made to feel like ‘VVIPs’,” Singh said.
In the 2019 general elections, the Delhi CEO office had identified 96 centenarian voters in the city, and women had outnumbered men in that category.
According to data shared by the Delhi CEO office, there were 42 male centenarian voters and 54 females in that category during last year’s polls.
“We have been trying for the last four months to identify all voters who are aged 100 or above. This is the first such initiative to cater to such elderly voters who were born before Independence and saw the first general elections in 1952. For us, they are VVIP voters and they will be treated as such,” Singh had said last year ahead of the 2019 polls.
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